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Thanedar Questioned Party Affiliation With Biz Group

August 1, 2017

Courtesy MIRS News

Before he made himself known to the media at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce event at Mackinac Island, Shri Thanedar spoke with Rob Fowler and the folks at the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) about his vision to become Michigan’s next governor. 

As Fowler tells it, Thanedar had one major question he needed to settle first. Would he be running as a Republican or a Democrat? 

Thanedar had sold interest in his company, Avomeen Analytical Services, and made it known to the crew at SBAM, of which he’s a member, that he was interested in running for Governor and using his own money to forward his campaign. But having not been overtly political before, Thanedar left open the question about under which banner he should run, Fowler said. 

The conflict revolved around him having positions that were more in line in both the Republican and Democratic parties. 

“We told him, ‘You need to settle that and you need to settle it quickly,'” Fowler said. 

Thanedar was no stranger to the SBAM team, after having been among the organization’s “50 Companies to Watch” in 2016. Thanedar, 62, retired from Avomeen Analytical Services, the company he founded, in March and was replaced as CEO by Mark Harvill. 

In the end, Thanedar picked the Democratic Party banner to run under, and as Thanedar tells it, it was never much of a question. 

“I had been a Democrat all my life. I have voted Democratic all my life,” he said. “When I was going around talking to different people, I received some unsolicited advice that because I was a business person, I should be a Republican.” 

The more he wrestled with that suggestion, the more he said he couldn’t imagine aligning himself politically with a party whose members create issues such as same-sex adopts and transgender bathroom use. 

“I cannot imagine being a part of that kind of intolerance and bigotry,” Thanedar said. “As far as growing businesses and creating jobs and creating small business opportunities, why does that need to be a monopoly position for one party. Democrats need to embrace economic growth more.” 

In the end, Thanedar said he “flatly rejected” the advice that he run as a Republican. 

“We are too great a country,” he said. “We don’t have a place for intolerance and that is something the Republican Party attracts.” 

Thanedar filed his campaign finance committee on April 15 and listed himself as running in the Democratic primary. 

Asked if he ever considered running as an independent, Thanedar said no, repeating that he’s always meant to run as a Democrat and appreciates the nation’s “strong two-party system.” 

Research into Thanedar’s voting history by Mark Grebner of Practical Political Consulting showed the 62-year-old Indian-born entrepreneur voted in the 2012 Republican presidential primary when President Barack Obama was running unopposed. Thanedar voted in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary although his wife participated in the Republican primary, Grebner said. 

Thanedar also did vote in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 general elections and the 2014 gubernatorial primary, but nothing else, Grebner said. 

Thanedar made headlines last week when his campaign finance report showed him putting $3.2 million of his own money into his six-week-old campaign. 

His significant personal investment into the campaign raised eyebrows among Democrats. But his Democratic Party bonafides and his personal stances on key issues Democratic primary voters care about is yet to be determined. 

Asked about his comments, Democratic political consultant Angela Vasquez-Giroux responded, “That and $3.2 million will get you a day of headlines. What he needs are votes.”

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